DraftKings Championship Round Slate Breakdown
The 2019 fantasy football season has come to a close, but we can still get our fix in with over the next few weeks with these condensed playoff slates. The overarching theme of this article will be GPP focused. On a short slate, one or two players can decide the entire slate. When that's the case, I like to play strictly tournaments with a portfolio of players, rather than one cash game lineup that can get destroyed by one-player variance.
Be sure to check back before the start kickoff on Saturday for updates and additional roster construction thoughts.
- Core Plays - These players will have the highest ownership in my player pool. Usually, they'll be a mix of my favorite high-floor and high-upside players.
- Contrarian Plays - These are generally players who may be going overlooked or usually have volatile fantasy production. They will be sprinkled into lineups around the core plays to make them a bit unique.
- Short slates are not all about value - With so few players in the pool, there will inevitably be a ton of overlap in lineups which naturally leads to a high variance slate. For this reason, it makes sense to focus on GPPs. (Putting your tournament lineups in small 50/50s, however, can be a nice way to hedge if you are not playing any cash games.) Rather than building a lineup with the best point-per-dollar plays, owners should consider game flow scenarios and build lineups that follow a logical narrative relative to those scripts.
- Consider non-traditional lineup builds - On short slates, there are some lineup construction strategies to consider that would never make sense on a full slate. Some examples are playing more than one running back from the same team in a lineup, rostering one or two players against your defense, and leaving salary on the table. It’s going to be tough to find contrarian stand-alone players—look for other ways to be unique.
- There is leverage to be had at the “onesies” - Full slates will rarely have any quarterback, tight end, or defense in more than 15%–20% of lineups in large-field GPPs. On slates such as this one, players at those positions could exceed 50% ownership in even the largest fields. This presents a rare opportunity to be contrarian at positions where ownership is usually quite flat.
- Stick to a (relatively) small player pool - It’s tempting to try to cover all of your bases when the player pool is so small but that will only dilute your good reads. Narrow in on a small core with your favorite off-the-board plays and be way overweight on those players. Coupled with strong correlation plays, this is how to build a profitable portfolio on a short slate.
- Don’t forget about late swaps - If your lineups are slanted towards game stacks, especially for the early game, it’s imperative to see where you stand when the final game starts. If you only have one player left and someone ahead of you has the same player, the only way to win is to swap, even if it’s to a player with a lower projection. Additionally, if you have lineups that absolutely tanked early, pivoting to lower-owned stacks or individual plays on in the last game could salvage you a min-cash.
The price tags on the Chiefs' skill players have been ratcheted up a notch which will make it a bit more difficult to jam in your favorite pieces. Patrick Mahomes ($7,700) has the highest ceiling on this slate and will be my most owned quarterback. There are instances in which I think you can be underweight or potentially fade a projected high-owned quarterback on a short slate, but this isn't one of them. The Titans rank 19th in aFPA to quarterbacks and Mahomes will attack whatever the Titans give him, which oftentimes makes stacking him a guessing game. It's hard to gauge why Tyreek Hill ($7,200) hasn't had a 100-yard game since Week 11 when he faced this very Titans' defense and annihilated them for 11/157/1 on 19 targets. I'd imagine the Titans' priority is not being beaten deep by Hill again, but that's easier said than done. It's wise to go back to Hill here as he should come in lower-owned than usual, or at least lower-owned than if he had recent success. It will be difficult to stack Mahomes, Hill, and Travis Kelce ($7,100) as those three will eat up over 40% of your allotted cap. It's definitely something you can fit, but you're hoping for a Chiefs ceiling week and a dud of an NFC championship game because you aren't going to be able to afford any other stud. Looking for a very low-owned difference-maker, Demarcus Robinson ($3,300) absolutely flopped last week. He played is usual allotment of snaps (around half), but dropped some key passes. I think he'll have very little ownership this week and I'll be sprinkling he, Mecole Hardman ($3,800), and Sammy Watkins ($4,600). I would make sure you have a maximum of one of Watkins, Hardman, and Robinson. There haven't been many games where Hill, Kelce, and two of the aforementioned ancillary pieces hit value.
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